Click here to print free tickets for yourself, friends, and family!
Come visit TnT Builders this weekend at the Albany/Linn County Home & Garden Show at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center!
April 21st, 22nd, and 23rd
Friday: 3pm – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm
We are once again offering FREE tickets to this show. Click here to print free tickets for yourself, friends, and family!
Any questions about tickets? Feel free to contact us at: email@example.com
Which methods are best: pressure washing vs. chemical cleaners, chlorine bleach vs. oxygen bleach, staining vs. sealing, water vs. oil based?
Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to get your deck ready for the summer! Early spring is the best time to get your deck ready for the year because the weather is cool and washing a deck in summer heat puts a lot of stress on the wood. But how do you clean your deck without damaging it? Here are a few way to get your deck ready for the summer without causing damage:
Prevent Wood Rot by CLEARING
The first step is to clear your entire deck. Clear the deck of any furniture, rugs, grills, planters, etc. Don’t be tempted to try to work around your BBQ or table, move it all off. Next, remove any nearby vegetation that is growing onto your deck, like tree branches, vines, or bushes. Then, sweep off any remaining debris, leaves, and branches with a broom (leaving organic materials on your deck traps moisture and can cause wood rot). Finally, use a putty knife to “floss” out any debris between the deck boards to promote water flow and prevent wood rot.
Prevent Disaster by REPAIRING
Once your deck is cleared, you need to inspect your deck for any damage. Check the decking for any loose or raised boards, splintered boards, or raised nails. Replace any bad boards and replace any raised nails with a larger nail or screw to get more of a “bite” into the deck frame. Check the deck railing for any loose posts, caps, rails, or balusters. If you see any signs of damage, replace or repair the problem areas.
Composite decking and hand rails may not require as much maintenance as a traditional wood decking, but you still want to inspect the support structure below. Bounce up and down on the deck and see if the structure seems weakened. Look underneath your deck for any loose lag bolts, deck fasteners, or wood rot. If you see any structural damage, contact a professional deck builder to make repairs before using your deck.
Brighten Your Deck by WASHING
After repairing your deck, you need to wash it clean of any dirt and mildew. But how should you wash your deck to prevent damaging it?
Pressure washing vs. chemical cleaners. Cleaning your deck with a pressure washer can save you time and doesn’t use any harsh chemicals. Pressure washing a composite deck is usually fine, however pressure washing a wood deck can quickly damage the deck by leaving large gouges or make your deck looking “fuzzy” by raising the wood fibers. If you must pressure wash, use a low pressure setting (around 800 psi), use a wide nozzle (40 degrees or more), hold the nozzle at least a foot away from the deck surface, and keep spraying in a constant motion to avoid gouges.
Most people find that scrubbing their deck with a long handled stiff bristled brush and deck cleaners is the best option. But what kind of cleaners should you use?
Chlorine bleach vs. oxygen bleach. Cleaning your deck with diluted chlorine bleach is usually the most effective at killing mildew, but it’s also the most effective way to damage your decking material. Chlorine bleach breaks down lignin, which is the glue that holds the wood fibers together, causing visible damage as well as preventing your deck stain or sealant from properly bonding to the wood. Chlorine bleach can also damage nearby plant life, siding, paint, and walkways.
Deck cleaners containing oxygen bleach remove mildew and other residue from the decking without destroying the wood. They are also non-toxic for plants, pets, and people, because they simply break down into oxygen and soda ash. However, unlike pressure washing or chlorine bleach, you might need to do a bit of scrubbing with a long handled stiff bristled brush to get your deck as clean as you’d like it.
After washing and rinsing your composite deck, you’re done! Now just bring back all of your furniture and enjoy your summer outdoors. If your deck is wood, let it dry for 2 to 3 days before doing any sanding, staining, or sealing.
Protect Your Deck by SEALING
If your wood deck has grayed, you can sand the cedar when it’s dry. You can rent a large random orbital sander with 80-grit paper and use a handheld random-orbit sander along the edges and hand rails. Before you start, make sure every exposed screw or nail is safely below the wood surface. Sand lightly until all the gray is gone and blow off all remaining sanding dust. Then you should seal or stain your deck, but which should you use?
Sealing vs. staining. Typically, decks should be re-sealed or re-stained every 1 to 2 years to protect against water and UV damage. If you want the natural color of your deck to shine through, then you can use a clear deck sealant to protect from water damage. However, if you want to add some color to your deck, deck stains protect your deck from water damage and UV damage because most deck stains contain a sealant and the added color pigments actually protect your deck from UV rays. Both deck stains and sealants can be water or oil based.
Water vs. oil based. Oil-based stains are used by many professionals and last longer that water-based stains, however oil-based stain can only be cleaned up with paint thinner and can only adhere to wood previously treated with oil-based products. Water-based stains are less durable than oil-based, however water-based products are more environmentally friendly, can be cleaned up with water, and can adhere to wood surfaces already treated with either water or oil-based stains. When applying either water or oil-based stains, make sure the temperature is between 50 to 90 degrees F, do not apply in direct sunlight, make sure the coat only three or four boards at a time to prevent lap marks, and apply two thin coats rather than one thick coat.
Enjoy Your Deck with FINISHING
Beyond repairing, cleaning, and staining, there are other things you can do to get your deck ready for spring. Why not consider modifying or adding to your deck before the season starts? Adding some outdoor lighting, like string lights, porch lights, or hand rail lighting, can make your outdoor living space useful for more hours of the day and night. Planter boxes are relatively easy to build, simple to maintain, and a great way to incorporate greenery into your deck. Built-in benches are another add-on that can help make more efficient use of your space. Finally, simply replacing your deck furniture with a new set can make a huge impact on the overall look of your deck.
For more ideas on how to update your deck, go to: www.tntbuildersinc.com; for more help on how to maintain your deck, visit us at: www.tntbuildersinc.com/maintenance; and for help with repairing and replacing your deck, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does Snow and Ice Damage Your Deck?
When a winter storm hits and the snow starts falling on your deck, what are you supposed to do? You might be worried that large amounts of snow and ice collecting on your deck could possibly cause moisture or structural damage. However, improperly removing snow and ice from your deck can actually cause more harm than good. Needless or improper snow shoveling can leave your deck with costly scrapes or gouges. So when and how do you remove snow and ice from your deck or patio?
Do you really need to remove that snow and ice?
Don’t worry about moisture damage. While you may be worried that snow and ice can cause moisture damage, plastic and composite deck boards aren’t damaged by water. Cedar decks are also naturally resistant rotting and warping.
Don’t worry about your deck collapsing. Properly constructed decks are required to support more snow that most roofs, between 40 to 60 psf (pounds per square foot), and 3 feet of snow only weighs between 42 and 63 psf. Since most deck handrails are around 3 feet high, you don’t need to worry about snow weight unless you can no longer see your deck rails.
There are only two situations that require shoveling: When you need to create an exit route from your door, and when the snow gets higher than your deck rails.
Does and Don’ts of Removing Snow and Ice:
DO put safety first. Don’t go out onto your deck if you might get hurt by needlessly overexerting yourself in the cold or slipping on an icy surface. When there is thin layer of snow or ice on your deck, the best thing to do is to wait until it melts through the gaps in your decking.
DO clear the snow to provide an exit path from your house. You should always have two separate exit paths from your house for safety, and if your second exit is a deck covered in deep snow, then you should clear a path. But all you need clear is a path 3ft wide; no need to shovel the entire deck.
DON’T use a metal shovel. You might scratch your deck using a metal shovel, so instead, use a plastic or rubber blade shovel. If you have to use a metal shovel as your only option, leave a thin layer of snow on top rather than letting your metal shovel come in direct contact with the deck surface.
DO shovel parallel to your deck boards. Shoveling across (perpendicular) the boards increases the risk that your shovel will catch the edge of a board and damage the surface.
DO use a broom or leaf blower for light snow. If snow is fluffy and less than four inches deep, it’s easy to brush away with a simple broom rather than risking scratching your deck with a shovel. Or if you have one available, use a leaf blower.
DON’T shatter ice on your deck. Banging and chopping at ice on your deck can seriously hurt the deck boards with scratches and gouges, even if you’re using a plastic shovel.
DO use the right ice melting product for your deck type. Salt and calcium chloride are considered safe for composite decks like Timbertech and Trex. But with wood, you have to be careful when choosing an ice removal product. Check what products are safe for your material. However, do not use ice melting products on a deck that is above any landscaping as some of those products may kill plant life.
DON’T put sand on a wood deck. Some people use sand as an alternative to chemical ice melts for preventing slippage, but sand is an abrasive substance and can scratch the decking surface.
DO remove icicles that hang over your deck. Large icicles that form on your roof may fall onto your deck—and because they are sharp, they may damage wood.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep safe and avoid damaging your deck during the winter seasons so you can enjoy it worry free for years to come!
A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped us in the month of June with our drive to donate 300 rulers to the Albany Altrusa Kidzshop & School Supply Backpacks. The rulers just arrived, and this morning out our safety meeting we took a look at them and of course posed for a photo! We’re excited to get to participate in filling these back packs with school supplies and making sure every kid goes to school fully prepared this fall!